NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville
District collaborated with the Tennessee State University
Engineering Department to mentor science, technology, engineering
and math students during a four-week National Summer Transportation
Institute program June 30 through July 3, 2014, on the campus of
Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, commander of the Nashville
District, and Corps employees mentored and instructed students on a
variety of engineering classes and current district projects. Hudson
kicked off the classroom portion Monday morning and told students
the sky's the limit working in the field of engineering. The
students received briefings on Corps leadership, engineering,
structures, projects, mobility, engineer jobs, lock and dams,
watersheds, Corps operating processes' and interacted with engineers
and subject matter experts during a tour at the Old Hickory Lock and
Dam in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Commander of the Nashville District
talks with students attending the National Summer Transportation
Institute program June 30,, 2014 on a variety of engineering classes
and current district projects during a lecture on the campus of
Tennessee State University. The students received briefings on Corps
leadership, engineering, structures, projects, mobility, engineer
jobs, lock and dams, watersheds, Corps operating processes' and
interacted with engineers and subject matter experts during a tour
at the Old Hickory Lock and Dam in Hendersonville. (Photo by Mark
Rankin, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
“This is an awesome program and I am learning so much
information that I did not know before about the lock and
dam,” said Dallas Moore, from Memphis, Tennessee.
Tennese Henderson, from the Nashville District Hydropower
Branch, has coordinated the Corps program for the past 15
years and said Corps personnel find it gratifying to help
mentor and shape STEM students into future engineers and
“Nashville District has one of the best
STEM programs, and we keep proving that by the work we are
doing in the community with our youth,” said Henderson.
“It's not about present employees, but it's about our future
employees and how we can help mentor, teach and steer them
to the engineer fields.”
The NSTI program is a
four-week residential program for students in grades 10-12.
The program offers study in different types of
transportation engineering majors, transportation careers.
The group studied, performed a variety of civil
engineering methods, experiments, labs and toured various
types of transportation facilities located in Tennessee.
According to Henderson, the NSTI program is only one
element of TSU's pre-college program with a goal of exposing
elementary through high school students to the advantages of
STEM education. Students from Tennessee, Mississippi,
California, Ohio and Georgia were invited to attend.
Henderson said this year's program is even better than
before and we are happy to be a part of the program and
contribute to the success of NSTI.
Lt. Gen. Thomas
Bostick, USACE commander, is a huge proponent of supporting
STEM initiatives and encourages the entire organization to
be involved with schools in communities across the nation.
In addition, Bostick recognized the need to support the
Department of Defense school system, and the general signed
a memorandum of agreement May 20, 2013, with the Department
of Defense Education Activity formalizing a partnership. The
plan calls for Corps' STEM professionals to engage students
about civil works functions such as environmental protection
projects and emergency response missions.
Nashville District is supportive of the general's STEM
initiatives and has a rich history of supporting the
mentorship of students in local schools. The district began
hosting teacher externships this summer to provide some of
the needed field training covering a wide variety of topics.
According to Henderson, NTSI is the district's oldest
“Our STEM program is working great
as we continue to educate young people build on their
strengths and learn through teaching what it takes to be a
good engineer,” said Henderson.
NTSI student class leader and junior from John F. Kennedy
High School, San Francisco, plans to attend college next
year and was excited to be a part of the class that toured
Old Hickory. He said he now wants to become a mechanical
“After my tour, I understand how math and
science interacts with technology in engineering, and after
talking with the Hydro Power engineers, they make it look
simple,” said Garcia.
Hudson said the purpose
of the lectures and tours is to allow the students to work
with park rangers, biologists, engineers and learn about how
the Corps provides engineering on a daily basis.
Ross, chief, Navigation Branch Nashville District, gave a
presentation on the nation's inland waterways and the Corps'
responsibilities for the protection of navigation and feels
the students absorbed the information well and believes they
will make a difference in the coming years for the nation.
"This is a good group of young people, full of questions
and attentive,” said Ross.
“It is fun to know that we
are preparing them with engineering fundamentals and
equipping them to keep the country moving in the future,”
According to Hudson, the Nashville
District recognizes the critical role that STEM education
plays in enabling the country to remain the economic and
technological leaders of the global marketplace, and
enabling the Department of Defense and Army in providing for
the security of our Nation. The district is committed to
teaming with others to strengthen STEM-related programs that
inspire current and future generations of young people to
pursue careers in STEM fields.
The Nashville District
has offices located throughout the Cumberland River Basins
that are staffed with engineers, scientists, and other
professionals interested in helping educators inspire kids
to pursue careers in scientific and engineering fields.
By Mark Rankin, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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